Sunday Tribune

Desiree Markgraaff talks of the behind the scenes magic of ‘House of Zwide’


SET against the backdrop of South Africa’s booming fashion industry lie deep dark secrets, heartbreak­ing betrayals and revelation­s that will turn lives upside down.’s new telenovela, House of Zwide, which replaced Rhythm City, has given viewers a fresh and unexplored story to indulge in. It’s riveting FIRST episode last month surpassed expectatio­ns with more than 4.2 million people tuning in.

Produced by Bomb Production­s and Videovisio­n Entertainm­ent, House of Zwide sees a fashionabl­e Joburg family who bring high drama and ruthless ambition as they rise in the cut-throat fashion industry.

It stars veteran actors Vusi Kunene as Funani Zwide, South Africa’s biggest fashion designer, founder and owner of House of Zwide, with Winnie Ntshaba as his supportive wife, Faith.

Other cast include Motlatsi Mafatshe as Uncle Molefe, Jeffrey Sekele as Isaac, Khaya Dladla as Lazarus, Nefisa

Mkhabela in her TV debut as Ona Molapo, and Shalate Sikhabi as her friend, Shoki.

Bomb Production­s executive producer Desiree Markgraaff, one of the most influentia­l people in the TV industry, said they wanted to make a local show that had not been explored before.

“We were inspired by how local designers have been rising locally and internatio­nally. There are so many incredible success stories and people in fashion that need to be celebrated, but while doing research we also learnt how tough the industry is.

“And of course it is glamorous and filled with drama and colourful characters. We were also inspired by everyday South Africans – even when people have no money, you will see great outfits put together. We want the show to celebrate South Africa’s creativity,” said Markgraaff.

From a production and value perspectiv­e, a team headed by Dylan Lloyd and Nokuthula Sishi created sets that have transporte­d viewers into the real world of fashion.

“It was important to balance the front face of fashion with the behind the scenes gritty world. To pay respect to, and work with real people in fashion. We were lucky to get fashion guru Felipe Mazibuko to consult with on set look and feel,” said Markgraaff.

With a dedication to showcasing local fashion designers, House of Zwide will see designs from Quiteria to Scalo, Marianne Fassler and Black Coffee.

“We’ve been working with and

talking to so many – in research we are grateful for the insights given to us by industry leaders like David Tlale, House of Ole, Palesa Mokubung and Ephraim Molingoana”, said Markgraaff.

The casting of local acting veterans and young fresh talent also adds a layer of excitement to the show.

“We love to give new people opportunit­ies and watch them flourish. But we also have great respect for the craft of acting and admiration for great actors. Acting is a career, not a hobby. When we start writing, we often write with actors already in mind, wanting to offer them something juicy.”

She adds that a balance between A-list actors who anchor a show with the excitement of new faces creates a wonderful energy on set.

“Make no mistake, talent and performanc­e always come first for us, so whether a new face or very experience­d, what drives our choices is a person being right for the role,” she said.

Markgraaff said following the success of their debut week, they hope to capture people’s hearts with the story and characters who all have big dreams.

“Be that Nomsa with her little business ekasi making dresses, or Funani wanting to build an empire, we want to say everyone’s dreams are valid and inspire people not to give up dreaming.”

In the rest of the season, viewers will be exposed to more secrets and lies that bind the two main families.

“Viewers will be in for a lot of intrigue and edge-of-seat drama, beautiful love stories and the challenges that our young lovers have to face in order to be together. Funani Zwide will not let anyone get in the way of his dreams.

“Ona discovers her whole life has been a lie and Isaac is suddenly faced with losing the person he loves the most in the world. And then of course we have Faith Zwide, she is a piece of work, the kind of woman who will do anything to get what she wants. We will love to hate her and even when she does the worst things, she always looks glamorous,” said Markgraaff.

House of Zwide airs daily on at

 ?? Itumeleng English/african ?? BOMB Production­s executive producer Desiree Markgraaff. | News Agency (ANA)
Itumeleng English/african BOMB Production­s executive producer Desiree Markgraaff. | News Agency (ANA)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa